time after timeStarted by Cygnus Essair at Apr 06, 2019 12:42 am
Goi 20, 76
If he were being honest with himself, and really, Cygnus very rarely ever lied (and never very well), he both was and was not happy to be home. Dalmasca was weird, after a while in Jihon, where it was somewhat boring, really, boring enough he kind of missed Kassandros constantly being annoyed at him, for whatever reason it was this time. Cygnus liked to think, sometimes, that maybe it wasn't really annoyance, but something else, yet, what that something else might've been, honestly, Cygnus didn't know. It wasn't like Kassandros was particularly open about anything, least of all his feelings. He thought his eldest brother might've been more open, with Icarus, his other older brother. If Kassandros talked to anyone, about anything really important, it'd be Icarus, probably. Kassandros didn't much care for Cygnus, and really, the feeling was kind of mutual. Cygnus didn't much care for Kassandros, either.
He was always on about what he should and shouldn't do, and rarely ever explained anything. It was almost like Kassandros thought he was too stupid to understand his explanations, and Cygnus hated that impression. But why should he explain anyway? Kassandros was the better of the three. Kassandros was smarter, and better, and more powerful, and knew everything, and blah, blah, blah. Quite frankly, Cygnus was about sick of his shit, and he got the impression Kassandros was, too, so it was a relatively mutual feeling, he guessed.
Cygnus didn't much like it, when he got the feeling someone didn't like him. He liked it even less, when he realized his brother kind of hated him. And yet, he did the same thing, most days. Cygnus and Kassandros, they never really got along, see? He supposed it didn't matter. Things wouldn't ever change, or at least, if they were capable of changing, the hows of making this happen were long lost on Cygnus. Kassandros wasn't willing to bend, and quite honestly, Cygnus was sick of being the one that bent and let Kassandros have things his way. Icarus always said he was being unfair, but Cygnus didn't think he was. Kassandros was being unfair. Kassandros existing was unfair, but nobody had ever asked him.
There was barbed wire on the walls... why was there barbed wire on the walls? Cygnus decided not to think about it too much. Instead, he happily pushed the gate open, closing it behind. "Kassiiiiii! MERENWEN!" Cygnus was and was not fond of Merenwen. He could appreciate her contributions to keeping the house running, but, sometimes she tried to mom-voice at him, and it always made him mad. Kass and Icarus might've listened to her, but she wasn't Cygnus' mom. Ksenia wasn't here anymore, and Cygnus didn't have to listen to the squirrel.
Icarus was a strange sort of bone-weary that he had never experienced before being sent to the Macenian frontlines. He moved at a steady pace - knowing the way from here so well that he could do it half asleep, which he wasn't. What was strange about the weariness though was that he wasn't exactly tired in the sense that he wanted a nap. It was more of a mental exhaustion. He supposed it might be normal - certainly he hadn't asked anyone.
He had learned shortly into the excursion how to protect himself, and how to make himself a less likely target in general. Still, he'd spent the entire thing on high alert just because he wasn't sure which were worse - his fellow soldiers, or the Macenians they were fighting. It didn't matter, he was almost home. ... In fact, he was close enough he could hear Cygnus' yelling from here. Well then... apparently his brother had beaten him home by a much lower margin than he'd been expecting. ... Either that or he was getting back from some entertainment, but somehow, he doubted it.
Icarus had not come away from his tour completely unscathed. The injury was not bad, and had already been cleaned and bandaged before he'd been allowed to leave. The bandages were hidden by a long sleeved shirt - but someone with a good eye could probably tell one sleeve was just slightly bulkier than the other.
Icarus had missed being home, he'd missed his brothers. He was looking forward to being reunited - he just... wished he wasn't already mentally drained, because he was a little concerned that his patience for Cygnus might be a little lower than it should be. He'd have to be careful, very careful, to keep himself in check. ... And Icarus just hoped that Cygnus and Kassandros could manage a day or two without fighting. ... He was not, of course, going to hold his breath - but he could hope.
Icarus opened the gate and slipped inside some time after Cygnus and what he was presented with was a titanic man who... probably was a blood fighter, or had been at one time, if he was being honest. The man had come out of the house at the same time he'd come through the gate. "Hello, Cygnus." The greeting wasn't overly loud, but he did want to acknowledge the other's presence and he did want him to know he was behind him - only because startling someone wasn't very kind.
Lycaon, for his own, glanced between the two who were now in what passed for the front yard of the house in relative confusion. They were clearly related to Kassandros, or employing some rather powerful illusions to make it seem like they were. The blood fighter turned guard made no attempt to stop the teen from crossing the yard or entering the house, if that was his goal. The physical similarities too Kass were too much, and he wasn't going to do something he might regret without Kass giving the indication that he should.
"I believe Kassandros is in the study at the moment." He could be wrong, but Kass was often there. Merenwen... was probably in the infirmary, but honestly Lycaon had no idea how busy she was, so he didn't comment on that. If these two were of the house, they likely knew where to find Merenwen if they wanted to.
Icarus had to admit, the new slave was pretty. He only knew for certain this one was a slave because he happened to be visibly wearing his armband. Ah, not saying that though no.
The House's finances were finally in some semblance of precise order. Kassandros had taken care of what little back tax there was, purchased the smaller plot of land behind the estate, and then started working on keeping track of precise income and expenditure figures. He had everything laid out, when they'd do this or that, how much it'd be, how much they'd need for general household costs, balanced against how much they made now that the Cobras had retreated from the open, scurried away into small crevices none would think to look in. His Cobras were his pride and joy, the only thing he'd managed to do on his own, and nothing would tear them down - except him.
At present, he'd settled into his seat in the study, going over some things related to the Cobras, making sure he could keep them going enough to ensure they made it through this quiet period, when he heard Cygnus outside. Yes, Kassandros could tell the difference between their voices, but, aside, Icarus was never much one for squealing in the courtyard, anyway. He sighed, more to himself, set his tea glass down on the desk, and stood, shuffling to the window. Not far behind Cygnus was Icarus; the minor sting from their argument, before he left, came back, but like always Kassandros did, he smothered it until it stopped. There was no point in being upset. It was over and done with, truly, now. Icarus had gone, anyway. Cygnus had, too. Both were stubborn fucking jackasses, and the irony of it all was, Kassandros was just like them, and thereby he had no one to blame for that but himself.
Well, being fair about it, twins were supposed to be similar, and very close. Kassandros had no idea what happened with Cygnus. He hadn't asked. He didn't really want to know.
"If you call him pretty, Cygnus," he called down from the window, open slightly to let the breeze in, "I'll let him throat punch you if he wants." He just wanted to make sure Cygnus knew that, because he had about all the grace, rhetorical and otherwise, of a dragon in a glassware shop. Probably specifically Samudra; she was about as graceful as dragons came. Sarcasm...
He shook his head, more to himself, shuffled back around the desk and down the stairs. He leaned against one of the support columns in the foyer, arms folded over his chest. The House had been awfully peaceful, with Cygnus gone. Now he had to get used to the constant commotion, again, the constant overwhelm that his youngest brother always was, the lack of tact he had. Now he had to remember how not to slap him every time he saw him and Cygnus started talking. Kassandros liked having his life arranged in specific orders. Cygnus was utter chaos. It was no wonder they hated one another.
It still amazed him, that his youngest brother could remain so... him. Ah; Kassandros frowned slightly, pushing off the column, crossing over to Icarus, hands hovering around his arm and glowing a soft gold. He was just checking it, not attempting to heal it, just yet. Seemed fine. Satisfied with that, he let go, watching Icarus for a moment, with almost a completely blank expression, before he murmured, "Welcome home," and backed away a bit.
There was no sense in being upset. It was over and done with, now. It didn't matter. It wasn't like he could lock his brothers in the estate, but sometimes, he wished he could.
Oh, wow, new person, Cygnus didn't remember this one existing in the house -- oh, armband, slave then -- oh wait that was Icarus! "Icarus! Hi! Oh my gosh, I have so much to tell you, you know though Jihon's kind of boring, like the kind of boring that's really boring, you know, the Jihonese don't really attack us or anything so we just kind of sat around and drank and played card games. Ugh, I'm pretty sure my hangover still has a hangover, also I really don't like sea ships, why do they exist, who thought, oh look a giant pond, let's like, build a wood thing and float across it like really? That just seems stupid. Do they have any idea what the sea is like when it's angry? Because I've seen it." Naturally, of course, given House Essair was literally a few yards off the coast.
"The study? Probably. He's always up there, fuckin' nerd. This is why he's got no friends, always got his nose in a book or he's doing stupid crap like maths or staring at the stars or something, like what's even interesting about the little pricks of light anyway, it's not like they do anything fancy if you stare at them long enough. Never understood it myself. Most other people probably don't either. What's the point of being Dalmascan if you don't go out and do stuff, there's so much stuff to do, gosh. What?" Somewhere toward the end of that long ramble, Kassandros had said something. Oh, calling someone pretty was bad. Wait, call who pretty?
Cygnus glanced around, for a moment. Well, it was just Icarus, himself, and this one. Hey, come to think, he was kind of pretty. Cygnus opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it, Kassandros was kind of scary when he got mad, not that Cygnus would know from experience or anything, and then closed it, and winked at him, instead.
"Fuck the gods I could use a bath, you know what they don't have in Jihon, they don't have baths, it's a travesty, really, do they just hop in the lake or something? Completely uncool. Rude too. If I'm hanging around your backwater nation you should at least have baths, totally unjustified." On the bright side, as Cygnus rambled about baths, he went toward the back. He was ignoring Kassandros for the most part.
Icarus smiled at Cygnus. "I'm glad you had time to make friends." Mildly - that was the best he could take from Cygnus' claiming that things had been boring because the Jihonese didn't attack, of course they didn't. It wasn't like they were at open war with Jihon, just, things could be a little tense and apparently the Jihonese weren't trusted to stay on their side, so to speak. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to bore Cygnus so... there was that. "Well, sure." After a moment. "But I suppose they're curious about what might be on the other side of the sea." Sure, it was dangerous but if they didn't take risks, they'd never know.
Of course that was how he felt about it. Icarus didn't comment on what Cygnus said on that front. But the assumption that 'most other people' were like Cygnus was... well, probably accurate, Icarus figured. But on the other hand, it was a sort of blanket assumption that was silly, if only because people were very different sometimes. And he didn't think it was really wise to assume everyone was just like him.
Lycaon kept his expression carefully controlled. This one clearly got all of Kassandros' talkative... and then some. He also didn't seem to have any understanding of the fact that different people found different things enjoyable, yes even things he thought were stupid. Yes he saw the wink, and his expression shifted from controlled to a bland disinterested look. But that had been permission to reject this one, if he needed it. He hoped he wouldn't but... not exactly holding his breath.
Icarus fidgeted slightly when Kassandros immediately zeroed in on his arm - but he kept the limb still and didn't try and argue that it was fine - which it was. Kass seemed to agree after a moment though because he backed off. "Thanks." A murmur in response to the welcome home. "It's nice to be home."
"They don't have baths in Jihon?" Icarus asked in a slow tone, rather obviously confused. He was... almost certain that Jihon had running water. ... He should probably follow Cygnus back, and keep him relatively engaged. Icarus didn't necessarily want to, but it was the best idea for all of them.
Oh, fuck the gods, Cygnus had only been home for five minutes, and he was already grating Kassandros' nerves.
Breathe. Steady, evenly, Kassandros breathed in, held it, released... nice and even, steady and deliberate. That was how we didn't murder our brother. Most days, Kassandros didn't want to murder him. Just, maybe slap him and shake him a bit, gentler than he would if Cygnus was anyone else. He loved his brother, both of them, he really did, but it was in the sibling clause, he guessed, that they'd grate one another. That he wouldn't always like them, albeit he didn't have the same troubles getting along with Icarus as he did Cygnus. Cygnus never listened to him. Cygnus didn't even listen to Merenwen.
It frustrated and pissed him off to no end, that the one person outside of his reach, was his own damned brother, and someday, Cygnus would crash and burn, and Kassandros wouldn't be able to stop it.
"Not on the Dalmascan naval bases, it's all showers," Kassandros answered. "This is Lycaon, by the way," he added, gesturing at the taller Macenian. "He's part of the house guard. Technically part of the me guard, but the gods know I'm great at having a guard." It was toned somewhat sourly. He was terrible at it. "There's another, just as tall but a bit darker skinned, Sandalio, also part of the me guard, the rest are either the house guard in general, or were added to the general slave numbers, or are just staying here for a bit. I'll introduce you to them all later, if you want to go hide for a bit. I can handle Cygnus. ... I think. ... maybe."
Well, the last time he'd tried handling Cygnus, they'd thrown magic at each other and caused the foyer to explode, so, perhaps that wasn't really valid. That was, apparently, what light and electricity did when they came into contact; they exploded. Most likely a side-effect of the heat light naturally generated.
But he thought he could stand him, at least long enough for Icarus to mentally recharge. He was more like Kassandros, in that he needed his down time, and while Kassandros hadn't had any in a while, he thought he might be less drained than Icarus was. "No more military excursions for a while, though," he added, his tone sharp. He meant it. "I pulled out of the one I was going on in April, too, so don't look scandalised."
Louder, he turned toward Cygnus. "And don't scare the twins, I think Dimitrios is in the bath. You're not allowed to proposition them, either."
Ha. "Well, I always make friends, even when I don't have time, but yeah, me too! Met some really awesome people. Lost a lot of games of cards, though, I had no idea I was so bad at card games, but it's not like we ever play them. Maybe we should! That'd be fun. Shame Kass is always doing something stupid, I'd like to beat him at a card game sometime. Knock him down a peg or two." Well, it wasn't like Icarus didn't know how he felt about that. "And why? It's not like anything important's out there." Cygnus was genuinely confused.
"SHOWERS, Icarus," Cygnus whined, right after Kassandros explained the Dalmascan naval bases had showers. "It takes a lot to look this good." Not really. Cygnus just really didn't like showers, they were boring. And besides, he liked some semblance of privacy, and there was very little on a Dalmascan naval base in Jihon. Not that he'd have minded as much if there were baths. It was okay if it was a bath, because Dalmascans had public bath-houses and he was used to that. Communal showers, though. Uh-uh.
For some reason, it grated his nerves Kassandros was ignoring him back. He wasn't supposed to do that. And of course, when his older brother said something to him, it was all commands and annoying shit. That was normal. Kassandros never had anything nice to say, it was always Cygnus don't do this, and Cygnus don't do that, and Cygnus you're not allowed to whatever it was this time.
He stopped, turned around. A glare probably about a similar intensity to Kassandros' annoyed ones graced his face. "What is with you and being a bossy ass bitch, anyway? You're so goddamn annoying. Did you ever think maybe I'm a grown ass man and I can do whatever the fuck I want? Fuck you, oh great special one. Fuck you right up the ass. Why were you even born, anyway? Just so you know, I hate you. I really, really hate you."
Cygnus rolled his eyes, turned around, and stalked toward the baths.
"True enough." At least partially by virtue of being insufferably loud and some people actually found him magnetic. Which, he'd just e glad that thus far Cygnus hadn't fallen in with the wrong sort of crowd. "Kass is always busy." Icarus corrected mildly. "There is a lot of work that goes into running a house. But maybe we can play cards sometime." Actually Icarus didn't think he'd enjoy it, but it would keep Cygnus happy so... fine.
He did look confused there, at that. "But how do you know that if we don't know what's out there?" Icarus, at least, was curious what might be out there. On the other hand, Dalmasca would probably just try to conquer it so... there was that.
Oh, it was all showers. ... Okay but he could still bathe with showers, so Icarus didn't really understand the complaint. It wasn't like he'd been washing with cold stream water or something equally terrible. "Showers aren't so bad, Cygnus." And he wasn't really sure if worrying about his appearance was really the most important thing when on Military tour. ... Not saying that.
"It's a pleasure." Politely to the guard, who simply nodded at him. "I'm sure you'll get used to having a guard eventually." Icarus' voice was mildly encouraging - and he was glad that Kass had gotten a guard finally. But there was also a slight flicker of concern, too - if things had gotten bad enough for Kassi to get a guard, how bad were they? Icarus didn't think that was something he had chosen to do on a whim.
Could he? Icarus was tempted to let him, honestly, but he also felt like that wasn't fair to Kassandros. "Alright." Holding his hands up slightly in surrender. "I'll stay home." No arguments, nothing like that. Just, fine.
Dimitrios. ... "...This is probably an odd jump, but, Kenleigh?" In confusion, but only very slightly. Because he'd said twins, and then Dimitrios, and the Kenleigh siblings were Dimitrios and... something. Andreas? Yeah, that sounded right. On the other hand, that house had chaos painted all over it even before he'd left.
Oh Iuna have mercy. For a moment, he was completely stunned by what Cygnus had said. They'd been home for less than an hour, was it really too much to ask for Cygnus to try and be cordial? All Kass was asking was for him to not terrorize the slaves, who by definition were probably half traumatized. ... Especially if he was right about Dimitrios' identity.
"...I think I'd better go make sure he doesn't terrorize the twins on principal." A little grim-toned, but he moved to follow their bother.
Just inside, in the Foyer was the other macenian titan. He was watching Cygnus with an expression that was suspiciously blank. "It's interesting. I've been here a little while now and I've never heard Kassandros say anything remotely qualifying as... bossy." Sandalio observed in a voice that was meant to carry. What went unsaid, of course, was the question of what, exactly Cygnus had done to deserve Kassandros' orders.
"Yes, Kenleigh," Kassandros answered, somewhat sombre, but only somewhat. Thetis still breathed. She was more stable than she'd been before, now. "Nero died. Aemilius was killed and Septima -" he glanced at Lycaon, trying to figure out how to word it so he didn't upset the Macenian. His tone was lower, when he spoke again; he didn't want Cygnus to hear it, as he couldn't keep a secret to save his balls, but he hardly went into the infirmary and probably won't find out. "... well they tried executing her, but, she's in the infirmary, fighting sepsis. Try not to let anyone we don't explicitly trust know that." If it got out they were sheltering a slave charged with crime, it could get messy, and fast. But that was a risk Kassandros had decided was worth it to take.
That... was unexpected, and yet, thinking about it, Kassandros wasn't certain why. He couldn't blame him. Kassandros couldn't blame Cygnus for that sentiment, because he knew it, he knew Cygnus blamed him for everything, and he couldn't blame him for that. Kassandros hated himself, too, certainly he couldn't say anything. It didn't stop the sting. No, that wasn't even just a sting, was it, that was... just pain. A dull ache, somewhere around where his heart would be. He didn't hate Cygnus back; it wasn't his fault. He just... wished Cygnus would think more. He didn't want his brothers to end up just like him, Kassandros wasn't much good, but a little more thought?
He wanted to say something back. Wanted to make it clear, there was a reason behind everything he told Cygnus to do, or not to. Even his being against his brothers going out with the military was for a reason, not only were there dangers out there not even on the battlefield, dangers they probably weren't ready for, just yet... Kassandros had pulled all the ones that had gotten interested in them onto him. If nothing else, Cygnus certainly couldn't handle it. But people died in battle. Icarus was his only option for an heir, and Kassandros was the one that was meant to die first, not them. He was only sane because he had them to think about. Because he had House Essair to keep standing, younger brothers to look after, he hated to think what kind of low he'd fall to, if he lost one.
Even losing Cygnus would be hard, as much as he didn't like his youngest brother.
... but there it was. Cygnus hated him. He knew it. He'd known it all along. But it didn't take the hurt away. This... maybe this was pain. Maybe he knew what it was, now. Forget everything he'd ever done for Cygnus, it didn't make a damn bit of difference. Because just like he was never good enough for Ksenia or Vopiscus, he wasn't good enough for Cygnus, either. Everything he did was in trying to protect him, mostly from dangers he didn't realise were dangers, but who cared? He told Cygnus no. That was the important part. Forget all the rest. Forget all the times he'd almost given up, on living, how many times it'd hurt so much it made it hard to breathe just to save him and Icarus from that, forget how hard he'd had to fight to be able to defend them with just their names, forget how many times he'd been scared out of his wits and kept going because they needed him to. Forget how, despite wanting to slap him, Kassandros never did, Kassandros tried to teach him how to control himself, tried to teach him how to still the chaos in his head, so he could hear his own thinking, forget all of that.
It wasn't good enough, and everything was his fault. But Cygnus was right, to blame him, wasn't he. Because Kassandros had scared Ksenia away. Kassandros had taken away their mother. Kassandros had killed their father. Kassandros had expectations, and boy if he didn't understand the soul-crushing weight of expectation. Everything was his fault. And maybe their lives would've been better, if Kassandros had never been born.
Why had he been born, indeed.
His gaze cast to the floor, and for just a split second, he looked hurt, but it went away a moment later, back to that placid calm it always was. He knew Cygnus hated him. Yeah. He knew. But hearing him say it, it still hurt. Icarus moved to follow Cygnus... and Kassandros rushed up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Apparently, he couldn't handle Cygnus, today.
Yeah, yeah, for some reason, Icarus actually liked Kassandros, and tended to defend him, however mildly it was when he did. Cygnus didn't understand it, but he supposed he didn't really have to. How could he not be upset at him for their mom leaving? It was his damned fault. Everyone said it was, their dad said it was, he wouldn't have lied because dads didn't do that, not to their kids. And it was a reason. A good reason, she was right to be afraid of Kassandros. Sooner or later, he would snap, and unfortunately, he was good enough of a fighter even without magic, he'd be a fuck of a force to take down with it. Cygnus didn't even know if there was anyone that could do it. Fuck, he'd probably just kill them all, whenever he went nuts. Why they hadn't just killed him, Cygnus didn't know.
He didn't fucking care, right now, whatever. Kass would die eventually, anyway. Most people did.
As he wandered toward the baths, he came across the other giant titan. Darker skinned, just a bit, not super dark though, kind of cute too. That was not cute, though. Cygnus just glared at him, and went on his way. As he went, Kassandros shot past him up the stairs. Fucking figures. Now he was going to pout about it, about someone actually telling him what they think for once, instead of what he wants to hear, right, praise fucking Kassandros fucking Essair, the star of House Essair and future Imperator.
Actually, he didn't even want to be here, right now, fuck. Fine, and he turned on his heel and went back the other way, toward the gate.
"Bloody whiny fucker," he grumbled. "I'll be at a friend's, fuck this." Said friend had baths, too. Big ones. Also, Cygnus could actually be in the big one by himself.